Northwest Ohio voters to have choices on fall ballot

Sears faces Tea Party challenge, but no Dems


Voters in most northwest Ohio legislative districts will likely have a choice of candidates on the ballot this year — including all-new candidates for two House of Representatives seats based in Lima and Napoleon — following candidate filings made this week ahead of the May 6 primary election.

Leaders of the state’s Republican Party, which already controls both the House and Senate, said they look to hold onto the existing GOP majorities.

“Our Republican slate of candidates for the House includes individuals who have accomplished a great deal in their personal and professional lives, and I am confident that they will do great things as members of the House,” said House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R., Medina). “These men and women will be tremendous assets to our efforts to strengthen Ohio’s business climate and create competitive jobs.”

The Democratic caucus leadership said that it also has a strong slate of candidates, even though so far it is giving state Rep. Barbara Sears (R., Monclova Township) a pass in the November election.

“We must break the current right-wing stranglehold on this legislature by gaining seats and ending the House GOP’s supermajority,” said Assistant Democratic Leader Debbie Phillips (D., Albany), who also serves as caucus campaign co-chairman. “We cannot let this extremist legislature maintain its ability to override the governor’s veto when Ed FitzGerald is in office.”

Mr. FitzGerald is the front-running Democrat seeking to oust Gov. John Kasich, the Republican incumbent, in November.

In Lucas County, Republicans filed to run in three Democratic-dominated House districts.

● John Insco filed for the GOP nomination against incumbent state Rep. Michael Ashford (D., Toledo) in the 44th District. Mr. Insco lives in the Reynolds Corners area of southwest Toledo.

● James Nowak, a Point Place attorney who made an unsuccessful run for Toledo City Council last year, filed for the Republican nomination against state Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) in the 45th District.

● Andrew Blazsik of South Toledo filed for the Republican Party’s nomination against state Rep. Michael Sheehy (D., Oregon), who was appointed in 2013 to replace former state Rep. Matt Szollosi (D., Oregon) to represent the 46th House District.

No Democrat filed for the 47th House District represented by Ms. Sears. However, she faces a primary challenge from Tea Party Republican Scott Allegrini of Sylvania.

State Sen. Edna Brown (D., Toledo) filed for re-election in the 11th Senate district, which includes Toledo, Oregon, and Maumee and Jerusalem, Washington, and Springfield townships. Republican Ernest McCarthy, who ran unsuccessfully for an at-large seat on Toledo City Council last year, filed for the GOP nomination.

In Allen County, three people filed petitions to run for the House 4th District seat being vacated by state Rep. Matt Huffman (R., Lima), who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election. They are Republicans Bob Cupp and Kurt Neeper, both of Lima, and Democrat Robert “Bo” Huenke of Elida.

And voters in the 81st House district will select party nominees to vie for the right to replace longtime state Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R., Napoleon), also term-limited. The candidates are Democrat John P. Lymanstall of Napoleon and Republicans Robert McColley of Napoleon and Jason Rockey of Montpelier. The district includes Henry, Putnam, and Williams counties and the southeast corner of Fulton County.

Candidates filing in other regional House and Senate races were:

● Incumbent state Rep. Tim Brown (R., Bowling Green), Democrat Earl Britt of Wayne, and Libertarian Nathan Eberly of Bowling Green in the 3rd House district, which is in Wood County.

● Incumbent state Rep. Tony Burkley (R., Payne) and Republican Brett Eley of Wapakoneta in the 82nd House, which includes Defiance, Paulding, and Van Wert counties and part of Auglaize County.

● Gregory Norris of Rushsylvania, as a Libertarian, and incumbent state Rep. Robert Sprague (R., Findlay) in the 83rd District, which includes Hancock and Hardin counties and part of Logan County.

● Incumbent state Rep. Rex Damschroder (R., Fremont) in the 88th House district in Sandusky County and most of Seneca County.

● Incumbent state Rep. Chris Redfern (D., Catawba Island) and Republican Steven Kraus of Sandusky in the 89th House district, which consists of Ottawa and Erie counties.

● Incumbent state Sen. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay), and Republican primary opponents Milo Schaffner of Van Wert and Corey Shankleton of Kunkle filed in the 1st Senate district.

Contact Tom Troy at: or 419-724-6058.